Dogs, canines, pooches – call
them what you like, you have to admit we’re a nation of dog lovers!
If you doubt this, just take a
look at the latest statistics from the American Pet Products Association
According to the 2011-2012 APPA
National Pet Owners Survey, 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to
72.9 million homes. Specifically for dogs, it is estimated that 46.3 million
households own a dog or dogs and that in all there are 78.2 million dogs in the
That’s a lot of dogs and pet
parents! And it translates into big business. The estimate for the pet industry
in 2012 is a whopping $52.87 Billion! Of this total, food accounts for about
$20.5 Billion. Little wonder there are 4 major brand companies competing for a
slice of this lucrative pie.
The estimated average basic cost
of food for dog owners is $254 a year with an extra $70 a year in treats.
Another $94 a year is spent, on average, on vitamins.
Now that’s a lot of dog chow…
But the trend of sales is not
only up, it’s changing from being dominated by the “Big 4” branded
manufacturers (Mars Inc., Nestle S.A., Colgate-Palmolive and Procter &
Gamble) and progressively, smaller makers and marketers are taking share from
the “big dogs” (pun intended).
Smaller companies can formulate
with different performance requirements, putting the pet first and profits a
close second. Production can be in smaller batches so that product is never
more than 6 weeks or so old, rather than being over-preserved to allow for the
months, even years that some pet foods may be stored in national and local
Now there’s an even more
revolutionary trend that’s been over 10 years in the making. Namely pet parents
A fondness for dishes decorated
with edible gold (‘Bling Food’) sweeps out top restaurants around the world.
Edible gold is mainly used for luster and appearance. Thick gold leaf is only
about 7.07 micrometers and is usually 23 carats. The only physical sensation
associated with eating gold is the most subtle crisis; it doesn’t even feel
metallic. So, if it doesn’t affect the taste, why eat it? The answer is related
to metal metaphorical content. Eating gold is about self-image, allowing one to
What is the difference between ‘normal’ and ‘edible gold’ leaves?
24 carat pure gold leaf. In its
pure state it is very soft and smooth and hence is mixed with other alloys to
create different levels of hardness and to adjust the color tone. That is why
most jewelry is 18 or 22 carat gold (mixed with other metals); 24-carat is too
soft for everyday use. The same principle applies to gold leaf. When mixed with
copper, silver, etc., you can get a variety of colors ranging from slightly
reddish tones, to bright yellow, to white gold. Alloys that are mixed to make
this variant are not edible (like copper). Edible gold (especially 23 carats)
is almost pure gold but mixed with silver, which is edible, so it can really be
When did we first start eating gold?
It was reported that the ancient
Egyptians discovered that by eating gold powder a person could become immortal.
In the Middle Ages rich people graced their lavish banquets with golden patina.
Grilled birds and other meat dishes are wrapped in thin golden leaves as a
display of wealth. 15th-century alchemists used gold as medicine. Edible
gold-coated sweet foods are served at lunch ‘to maintain a healthy heart’. The
Elizabeths created a banquet of luxury …